SANTA BARBARA, Calif. --- California Baptist University continues its difficult start to the season with the 2013 UC Santa Barbara Winter Invite. The No. 18 Lancers played in two games Friday, against No. 5 Arizona State University and the No. 15 UCSB Gauchos.
CBU fell to 0-3 on the young season following a 14-7 loss to the No. 5 Sun Devils and a 10-5 loss to the hosting Gauchos.
"The UCSB invite is a high level tournament and we get a great chance to play some of the best teams in the country," said Head Coach Jacob Medina. "Arizona State and UC Santa Barbara are always great programs with loads of talent and posed very tough challenges for our young squad."
The day began early as the Lancers took on Arizona State at 10:15 a.m. The Sun Devils came out blazing, outscoring CBU 6-1 in the first quarter and leading 11-1 at the half.
Seven different Lancers scored, including five in a strong final quarter, but their efforts were not quite enough to take down one of the top teams in the country.
"Often, with a young team like ours, finishing offensive opportunities is the last to click but I believe we are making positive progress," said Medina.
The strong final quarter against ASU should have given CBU the momentum heading into their next game against the Gauchos, but they had to sit around for six hours before getting the chance to face the hosts at 4:45 p.m.
The Lancers came out shooting against UCSB, and played them tough to a 3-2 score through the first quarter. Rowland played the entire game in the goal for CBU, holding the Gauchos to 10 goals while picking up eight saves.
"Both games really told the same story as we struggled to find the back of the goal," said Medina. "The positive is that we have opportunities and our offense is creating chances in front of the goal. Now we have to start shooting with more confidence."
The Lancers five goals came from three players, Kim Latschaw tallied two, Evans put two in the back of the cage and the leading scorer among returning players, Molly Gritchen, tallied one. All three women play two-meter for CBU.
"Molly (Gritchen), Kimberly (Latschaw) and Hannah (Evans) are starting to produce more for us at the center position which has helped our offense," said Medina.
Despite the chances that the Lancers had to score, they fell short to UCSB because of the tough play from the Gaucho goaltender. Ruth Milne compiled 15 saves for the home team.
The Lancers have improved, and the goal differential between them and their opponent has decreased in each game this year, but the winless team will continue its search for their first win tomorrow.
CBU concludes its play in the invite as they face No. 1, and defending National Collegiate Athletic Association champion, Stanford at 9:00 a.m. and Sonoma State at 4 p.m. on Jan. 26.
"Tomorrow things don't get any easier as we play No. 1 Stanford in the morning," said Medina. "(We are) getting a great opportunity to play the best team in the country and the defending NCAA national champions."